Posted by psgels on 13 December 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you!

So to elaborate: the harem genre is one of the worst genres in anime, and it has been so for about a decade now. The worst part is the sheer amount of series that have been made of it. They give anime a bad name and the vast majority of them just completely sucks. Over the years of course, enough attempts at parodies have appeared.

The problem with these parodies was that they weren’t really parodies. They’re just harem shows with their tongue in their cheek. When you have this mentality though, you only make things worse: you’re not funny, and the tongue in the cheek is just an excuse to put in even less effort into your writing because any flaws can be overlooked this way. A lot of parodies make this mistake and just adhere to the things they’re trying to make fun of, and with the harem genre this resulted into one giant mess. The only successful series so far probably was Ben-To, but that was just a really well executed series first and foremost.

Noucome though, goes all the way. This series finally aims to highlight the stupidity in the harem genre, and it finally aims to really make everything about it look ridiculous to show what so many series nowadays are getting away with. It finally takes the usual tropes like the quiet girl, the ditzy girl, the energetic girl, the student council, and with some great jokes and its premise shows how bad these things are. The protagonist is wonderful in fully acknowledging what a horrible person he is while this show keeps finding ways for him to enact generic harem scenes, and take them to the ridiculous. For that effort alone, I applaud this series. Because it has a lot of flaws, unfortunately.

Like most series, this series does lack an editor. The writers have great ideas, but other ideas are just plain bad. For example, everything about the main female lead (the one who falls from the sky) just doesn’t work: where all other characters are meant to highlight the flaws of their stereotypes, she’s just the generic dog-like girl with no brains and a huge appetite that we’ve seen millions of times before. She gets old really fast.

Second, it’s unfortunate to see that the writers can’t keep up their wit for the entire run of the series. With only 10 episodes, this is delightfully short (a comedy really does not need to be long!), but even then the second half has a few bad episodes, and especially the last arc is a pool episode that, while still containing some good jokes, is also full of pointless repeated boob-jokes that don’t go anywhere and an incredibly rushed and hacked ending that doesn’t really resolve anything. It’s a really clear example of the creators not knowing whether there is going to be a sequel, and therefore they try to include a bit of both, resulting in a really big mess of a final episode. It’s a shame, because there really is comedic gold in good endings, yet the amount of comedies that actually go for this can be counted on two hands. Another problem this series has is that everyone and his dog conveniently gets anmnesia when the writers need it the most. It’s passable when done once, but the writers just keep relying on it.

Nevertheless, Noucome first looked to be a series with the worst premise you could imagine. It turned out to be the biggest surprise of the year for me, and especially the first half was pretty much the best way in which such a bad-sounding storyline could ever have been animated. Can we now kill the harem genre. Please?
One-Sentence Review: The first harem parody that actually is a parody. Terrible ending though.
Suggestions:
Ben-To
Touka Gettan (Also not really a parody, but another great example of how to spice up the harem genre)
Aquarion Evol

37 Responses

  1. Avatar Flawfinder says:

    If this anime was a short, it would have been way better. Gimmicky-series like this should not have full-lengths.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Yeah. The last good episode was I think episode seven. The problem though is that the episodes after that could have been good, but for some reason this show just stopped being a parody and played straight again.

    • Avatar Juno says:

      Episode 9 was my favorite episode simply because it pitted the tropes against each other in a way that was so over-the-top, I couldn’t help but laugh. And that episode ending. The beginning of episode 10 ruined it (actually, all of 10 was pretty mediocre), but it still gave me the kind of feeling in which I realized, “This is a lot more serious-funny than I originally thought it was…” XD
      Biggest surprise of the season for me, too.

  3. Avatar Scruffy says:

    I think the best thing about this series was how it took the piss out of the little sister trope. Now THAT is a trope that needs to die in HELL! The ending pool episodes were meh but still overall it was a laugh.

  4. Avatar brianwuzhere says:

    I liked the pool episode if only for the Unlimited Blade Works reference, but I’ll agree that it started better than it ended.

  5. Avatar Mazz says:

    I fucking love this show, but I do admit the ending was bad. It reminds me of the ending for Baccano!, just badly done. The only episodes that were bad IMO were the last episode and the episode before the pool scene. Everything else was golden if you ask me. Still, 7 or 8 funny episodes out if 10 is a hell of a lot better than any other comedy I have seen.

  6. Avatar Cytl says:

    I’m surprised to see how some random, exaggerated humor can create the illusion of a “parody” where there is none. Maybe it’s just people fooling themselves into thinking that they are not watching a, very enjoyable, yet generic and otaku-pandering show.

  7. Avatar AidanAK47 says:

    I think Cytl has a point. I do think it is a pretty funny show but I would hesitate to call it a parody. For one it’s not really taking potshots at harem cliches. If anything it’s fully embracing them. The only characters mocking traditional stereotypes of the genre were the little sister and the ojousama.The Moe girl didn’t really mock the stereotype and never did the genki, idiot girl or the kuudere.

    I wouldn’t mind a season 2 though if light novels have taught me anything it’s that after volume one…it’s all downhill.

  8. Avatar Nyangoro says:

    While I wasn’t a fan of this series at all to begin with, I have to agree with Cyti and Aidan. There was no parody in this series. From episode one, it operated on randomness and kept people interested (and laughing, presumably) with its high energy and non sequitur humor so in your face that it would have made Tracy Jordan double take. I didn’t find that it actually parodies any of the tropes, but rather went so far with them that they became even harder to take seriously than they already are, which led to them feeling like they were poking fun at the tropes.

    But yeah, this is an opinion coming from someone who never like the show to begin with, so take it for what you will.

  9. Avatar Juno says:

    Nah. I’m going to meet halfway with psgels and Aidan and the others. I don’t think the series meant to actually parody the tropes, but it still did a heck of a job in many places where it mattered. Taking the trope further than believable can be a bad thing (and I had a hard time trying to figure out why these bad trope exaggerations were still making me laugh so hard), but here, the trope exaggerations never affected the main character, and were only ever acknowledged by the common minion students in the anime–the throwaway fodder meant to almost represent mindless otaku. And as generic as it sounds, it was executed well. And that’s what I think made it a parody. It was almost “trying” to become a harem anime, but rejecting it cleverly enough that we could still consider it a parody by its core.

    • Avatar Cytl says:

      I don’t want to be too much of pain in the ass, but I’m not too sure how the series supposedly was “trying to reject” being a harem when pretty much every single plot point and device were all used in getting the main character romantically involved with the girls.

  10. Avatar Yourdream says:

    If Psgels hadn’t said so, the parody and satire-related jokes in the anime would have completely went passed me. In all seriousness, while I watched this anime I didn’t notice any of that. To me, it was just another harem anime, but it was really funny. Particularly the first three to five episodes were incredibly hilarious. I was really pleased that the anime kept up its humour so well for so long, especially after watching both Hataraku Maou and Servant x Service, both animes with ridiculously funny opening episodes that fizzle out immediately. However, this anime also started to lose its edge, and by episode seven or somewhere around there I wasn’t laughing much at all.

    Also, since nobody else who agrees with me wants to say it, I will: I like harem animes. It’s obvious there’s a lot of people out there like me who also like them since so many harem animes are made. I started anime watching a harem anime in Maburaho and I’ve watched countless ones since then. Yes, there’s a lot of terrible harem animes, but there’s terrible animes of every genre. Good harems, like Kami Nomi, Seto no Hanayome, or even Love Hina are enjoyable. Harems can be good, and plenty of people even like the bad ones. I hope animators continue making harem animes forever.

    • Avatar AidanAK47 says:

      Kami Nomi and seto no Hanayome are not harem animes. They are comedies with harem elements.

      Harem is a genre which to me has untapped potential. With a good writer you could turn a harem into a excellent drama with many twist and turns. However Harem anime in general don’t want to show the dark elements of love and prefer to focus on the fluffy and clean parts of first attraction. The reason to it’s popularity is that such a childish fantasy sells. Just like sex sells and Michel Bay movies sell.

      • Avatar Scruffy says:

        Well there is always School Days with it’s ‘Nice Boat’ ending :)

      • Avatar Nyangoro says:

        Harem works better (or more easily) in the visual novel medium. The fact that it allows choices and allows you to select each pairing separately makes it easier to flesh out each route and tie in more winding elements into a single narrative. It’s the possibilities that make the harem genre work.

        It’s harder to portray those possibilities in anime where you are typically telling a linear story, so they tend to go with either one main line, or try to throw together as many smaller elements of multiple lines as they can. Then you add in the fact that a lot of harem series are made because it’s the trend (and therefore even more burdened by corporate demands) and you have a difficult time finding really good examples in the medium.

        I think a good avenue to create a harem anime would be to use a non-linear style where each week or two sets it from the stand point of one of the girls, seeing it through her eyes instead of the guy’s. In fact, it might be better never to see it through his eyes directly.

        I think Amagami tried to do something like that, but then failed by forgetting to make any of the characters interesting `3`

      • Avatar KaZuHiRo says:

        Steins;Gate is also, technically, a harem. So is Elfen Lied.

  11. Avatar Malkuth says:

    In order to enjoy a satire, one must be familiar with its subject. Therefore I understand why the reviewer and many commentators here didn’t get the humor. Nonetheless, technically the staff did great work with a limited budget, and indulging in self-sarcasm allowed even narrow-minded viewers to watch and enjoy it.

    • Avatar AidanAK47 says:

      Is it just me or does Malkuth’s post sound really condescending?

      • Avatar Malkuth says:

        That purely depends on you. You don’t feel patronized by statements like: “the vast majority of them just completely sucks” because you agree with it, while on the other hand, if you didn’t you would be offended. I don’t mind either way, and try to pay attention to what people say, not how they do so.

        • Avatar AidanAK47 says:

          My friend, before lecturing others you should take note of your own demeanor. No matter if you have a point or not, if you say it like a condescending asshole it’s downright rude.

          Either way you give the impression of someone trying to sound more intelligent than he actually is and aren’t really saying anything truly insightful. If anything you seem to just be insulting other people.

  12. Avatar Mazz says:

    I don’t know why it matters whether or not it is a parody. If you found it funny, it was good, if you didn’t, it wasn’t good. Period. Personally I found the little sister to be hilarious, the choices to be funny, and I liked a lot of the random, non parody humor the show had to offer. Whether it was a good parody or not is irrelevant if it isn’t funny imo.

    • Avatar Cytl says:

      It’s just an stimulating discussion after a watching something (a bunch of “I liked it” and “I din’t like it” would be quite pointless to post). Most of us who don’t think it was a parody even liked the show.

      • Avatar Malkuth says:

        Self-sarcasm is a tricky thing. Being able to recognize and be critical of your own shortcomings through humor is objectively a good thing, because it exposes the underlying self-awareness of the creator(s). Whether one likes it or not is subjective and has nothing to do with the item, but the individual judging it.

        • Avatar Cytl says:

          In this case, the very same presence of a “self-sarcasm” is quite subjective apparently. I just don’t see it.

        • Avatar Nyangoro says:

          I don’t know if I’d be so quick to call it objectively good. Because that implies that self-awareness is objectively good, and I don’t think that is always the case. Sometimes you don’t want something to be aware of how unreal it is, because that breaks the immersive experience. With comedy in particular, I certainly wouldn’t say that every comedy series would benefit from being self-aware.

          • Avatar Malkuth says:

            Being self-aware helps the staff to have greater control over their creation. Whether they choose to exploit it for satiric or even sarcastic purposes or hide it for a more immersive experience is their rational decision, rather than an accident (which is the usual case).

            In any case, whether one likes either approach or not depends on individual preferences, rather than technical details mentioned above.

  13. Avatar Thorben says:

    What an interesting discussion this anime has started. It is easy to relate to the points made here now that I have watched the series after reading psgels review: There was some great humour in the first seven episodes, but even then it was clear that the series was taking itself and the premises of the harem genre too serious. Many scenes were over the top, but for a parody I would have wished to see a more deconstructionist approach to the characters. Although there were some interesting attempts as with the Imoutou character.

  14. Avatar Hogart says:

    I think we’ve probably passed the point of over-analysis and gone into the realm of quibbling. Shaun of the Dead also embraced the zombie genre – did that mean it wasn’t also a parody? Not all mockery is hateful and bitter. Similarly, Noucome isn’t primarily be a parody, but enough of its humor is parodic to justify classifying it as one. Besides, the entire harem genre is practically one giant self-parody at this point so I fail to see the need to quibble over that – because it’s also a relatively good specimen of the genre, and we don’t want to reduce it to simply being labeled a parody?

    • Avatar Nyangoro says:

      It doesn’t have to be hateful or bitter, but it does have to mock, discuss, or downplay the object of parody in order for it to be a parody. This series didn’t do that, it just indulged in it to the extreme. I suppose you could consider the extreme nature a source of mockery, but I see it less as that and more as merely the source of the comedy.

      • Avatar Hogart says:

        Hmm. I can’t say that I agree, but then I might just be remembering things. Such as a dig at Monogatari, a distinct feeling that they were mocking the hell out of TWoGK with Chocolat, and so on. But in the end, the very premise itself mocks harem anime: the lead has utterly no choice but to be a harem MC, because the gods (writers) won’t let him be anything else.

        • Avatar KaZuHiRo says:

          How about that Shaft reference? I find it extremely hilarious that I burst out laughing (not many series can do that). And that Maria-sama reference was golden too.

          • Avatar Malkuth says:

            First of all there is no more a harem genre in the sense it existed back in the ’90s. Most modern media targeting young adults feature a variety of supporting cast of the opposite sex for commercial purposes. It’s a side-effect that they share tropes with old school harem media, not an objective. You can think of these tropes as the evolution from the opposite sex equivalents from shounen and shoujo. Being gentle one can say it makes storytelling and character development more natural, while the haters can point fingers to untalented and lazy writers.

            Second, NouKome takes jabs at galge and their players first and foremost, not harem anime (both in their restricted and generalized definitions). IMHO it succeeds where KamiNomi and Seitokai no Ichizon failed, by having a protagonist frustrated by the the choices the games provides, while the other two dissociated the viewer from the protagonist. In NouKome the viewer is the player, while in the other we have a third-person perspective. Of course, this works much better in the original novel form, because in the anime first person narrative is very hard to work out with the majority of viewers.

        • Avatar Hogart says:

          @Malkuth. But it’s clearly jabbing at more than just galge, too. I’ll grant that calling harem anime a “genre” is silly, but that’s the word that’s been chosen by the gods of online groupthink, just like “fanservice” has become limited to just being about nudity/pantsu.

          I’m just impressed that Noukome is generating actual discussion, even if it seems like the least productive discussion I’ve had in months :)

          • Avatar Malkuth says:

            No, NouKome storytelling devices, character concepts and development are deconstructing galge. That was the inspiration and main concept around which it expands the content, branching to related themed satire.

            Now harem, fanservice, and other misconception are just superficial groupings that american distributors used in order to promote quantity over quality. In turn this estranged a lot of fans that didn’t grow up with false dichotomies.

            In any case, it is hard now to discuss anime like NouKome seriously, because most viewers stop thinking after the first pantyshot of the second girl that speaks. On the other hand, critics, bloggers, and viewers overanalyze anime that don’t, whether they worth it or not.

  15. Remember when Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan was a “brilliant self-aware deconstruction” of horrible anime like a million years ago? Do you think that if people just deconstruct harem anime hard enough, they’ll be forced to stop making it?

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